Take a trip to the Isle of Man. It’s closer than you think and full of surprises.
The island is well-known for being host to the Tourist Trophy (TT) motorbike races in May/June, but we take a glimpse at what else this fascinating place has to offer.
Set in the Irish Sea, the island has been inhabited since around 6,500 BC. The Manx museum in the island’s capital Douglas has plenty of examples of tools used by these early hunter/gatherers. The island has passed through many owners, including Norway and Scotland, but it is now a crown dependency of the UK, having its own parliament and laws.
The island is 52km (32 miles) long and 22km (14 miles) wide, so it’s easy to hire a car or a bike and explore the countryside. There is a narrow gauge railway too – still running steam locomotives, and was the inspiration for the books. You can purchase a day ticket and hop on and off as you please. The railway actually serves Ronaldsway airport, so it’s a great first impression of the island when you arrive.
There are plenty of sights to see on the Isle of Man. Neolithic tombs and standing stones are well preserved, while there are also castles to visit, such as Castle Rushen, in Castletown, built in the 12th century and the best preserved medieval castle in Europe. Peel Castle on the west of the island is a ruin, but has a spectacular view over the Irish Sea, and if you’re lucky you can spot basking sharks and seals.
For foodies, Manx fare will be on offer at a Food and Drink festival every September, with celebrity chefs appearing over the two-day event. You can try locally made, cheese, beer and confectionary.
If you’d prefer a more active holiday, there are plenty of walks and even a reasonably big hill to climb – Snaefell at 621m (2,037ft). There’s also sea kayaking around the interesting coastline, and cycling, both on and off road, is popular with plenty of organised races and events to choose from.
One thing’s for sure, this little island packs a big punch.
Manx people are fiercely proud of their ancient Celtic heritage, and the Manx language can be heard frequently, although English is the main way of communicating. Manx is closely related to Irish or Scots Gaelic.
You can use sterling on the island, although, just like Scotland, the Manx government prints its own notes and mints its own coins. The denominations are just the same as our currency.
With up to 5 five flights per day from Loganair, including both mid-week and weekend options, schedules are perfect for both business and short leisure breaks. Book flights now at loganair.co.uk. Also, for those regular travellers to the Isle of Man – why not sign-up to Loganair’s rewarding Frequent Flyer Programme, Clan Loganair?